How to Start an Online Business: 7 Things You Can Do to Get Going

A lot of questions about entrepreneurship and starting an online business have been showing up in my inbox. I figured that instead of responding to every email individually, I’d put something together.

Here’s how I started an online business.

To become a successful online entrepreneur you need to follow this 7 step system, and you’ll see how it will grow.

Let’s begin with…

How to Start an Online Business: Finding a Need and Filling it

start your online business

photo credit

Yes it’s that easy. If you can find a niche where people are having problems, or asking a ton of questions, then provide them with what they are asking for (a solution).

Don’t make the same mistake I made, finding a product first, then a market. That just doesn’t work. There are hundreds of markets that are un-served right now waiting to give you money. So focus on the market not the product. People give you money, not the product.

Find something people think is cool (e.g iPad, ATV, Video games) and they are passionate about. Most products like to focus on “feeding you fear”. I like to focus on coolness.

I know it’s going to sound simple, but starting an online business or blog is really that simple; find people that already want something and give them what they want.

Good Market Characteristics:

  • Passionate like hell
  • It has a big community
  • You can find them easily online
  • They buy a lot

The Way You Find Them:

First, don’t guess. Most new online wanna-be-entrepreneurs, like I was, make this mistake. What you have to do is use data that is proven and test what their behavior is. I do this a ton. Start out with a small budget. You don’t have to spend thousands to test. Begin small!!

Three bonus tips:

  • Visit online forums and blogs to see what questions are being asked and what problems they want solved.
  • Visit your potential competitors websites and take note of what they’re doing to fill the demand. See how you can be different than them. Maybe offer more for the same price. Do it better.
  • Do keyword research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but for which not many sites are competing.

There’s this site called Clickbank where you can find what digital products are selling and see how many affiliates are promoting them and other great facts that can help you pick a product that you like and test.

good copywriting

How to Start an Online Business: Have Killer Copywriting

There’s a proven way to make a person from being a non-buyer to a buyer. Let’s call it the selling process. There’s like a 9 step sales process I read in a book somewhere, but that hasn’t worked for me as much as the one that is one third of that. Let’s look at what I am talking about…

This is the easiest way you can sell stuff:

  • Here’s what I got
  • This is what it will do for you
  • And here’s what I want you to do next

I didn’t make this up. I actually learned it from the coolest guy on the Internet. Frank Kern.

He says that you can actually go straight out and tell people, Here’s what I got…

You don’t have to screw around and try using any hypnotic stuff that’s going to supposedly brainwash people into buying your stuff.

The second part

This is what it will do for you…

If what you have is of value, there is no need for tricks. You simply tell them what it will do for them. Hopefully what you sell, will actually do what you are promising it will. Some people think you have to somehow lie in this part. I don’t believe that you should sell something that you wouldn’t use yourself. I know I don’t. So, be honest and tell them what it will do in a simple paragraph.

And last, this is what I want you to do next…

I know that you probably think that this is too easy, but I honestly thought the same things that you’re probably thinking right now.

But I knew that if this guy that has sold millions more than me is doing it then why not do it, right? It’s really important you do this part right. Most people RUIN this part. The majority of products and salespeople always do this part wrong and that’s why it’s so important, because this is what some people call  “the close.”

If you’ve ever had the privilege of having a salesman at your house, you can notice how a salesman’s personality starts changing when its time to ask you for the money. Yea…they get afraid.

So now that is your time to be on the side of the salesman; just go for it and tell them…this is what I want you to do next.

As long as you are thinking like the consumer “what is in it for me?” mentality, your copy should be good.

Once you’ve got those two steps done you are GOLDEN, as I like to call it. Because those are the thinking parts, now we get into the creativity, and fun parts of this system.

How to Start an Online Business: Designing a Blog or Website

So we have the product and copy all done, what’s next? Time to come up with a seductive design. I call it seductive because, you have to find a way to convince your visitors to staying in that page. They say that you only have 5 seconds to capture someones attention online. That kind of sucks doesn’t it?

The most important part of the web!

Web Design is 95% Typography

designing your websiteNinety-five percent of the information on the web is written language. It is only logical to say that a web designer should get good training in the main discipline of shaping written information, in other words: Typography.-information architects

They could not have said it better.

Make sure that the navigation is plain and simple in every single page. Use graphics, video, and audio to enhance your messages. Get ideas from sites like Zappos and Amazon. Those two companies are the prime example of being successful online.

Email, Email, Email Opt-in

Don’t forget this. So many new online entrepreneurs make this mistake of not having an opt-in box when they start their first business. This allows you to send them information. When they sign-up they are telling you they trust you and they want more of your products.

Two clicks should be how much work they should have to do to buy. If it takes them more than that they will get frustrated and find an easier place that makes there lives easier and never come back. We don’t want that.

This is your storefront so make it as friendly to your customers as you can.

How to Start an Online Business: Driving Traffic to your Website or Blog with Qualified Targeted Traffic

If you’re not to familiar with the internet so much. There’s two ways that you can do this. One is paid and the other is free. Let’s talk about PPC first.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

What is Search Engine Pay Per Click Marketing?

Search engine Pay Per Click marketing is when you advertise on different keywords in a search engine and pay each time someone clicks on your advertisement. Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, MSN Adcenter are all popular, but Adwords is among the most well known. Now you can even use Facebook Ads; they are becoming very popular due to the high amount of visitors that Facebook gets every month and how targeted you can make your ads.

Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.

Now lets look at your other Sources of Traffic

I bring most of the traffic to my blog from organic search engine results. And I talk more about this on my blog post about How to Increase Blog Traffic to my Blog Fast. You might want to read this post and Finding Keywords: How to Find the Right Keyprases Step by Step if you want to save money and you just want to rank organically on the SERPS.

I know by now, if you’re still with me, you must be thinking WOW this is so hard. And it is. But if you have the drive and determination nothing will stop you, but yourself.

Trust me, the reward is bigger than all the work that is put into building your business. It’s the most amazing feeling when you’ve been something yourself.

So moving along, let’s get into the next part.

How to Start an Online Business: Establishing Yourself as The Expert

I believe people go to the Internet for a few reasons. Entertainment, Shop, Network or Socialize, and of course Information. Here’s a rule that I so much believe in. If you provide enough good free information that is useful, when you create a product or recommend something people will trust you and see you as the expert in your field.

Make sure you are distributing the information in all the social sites and article directories.

Send it to your friends and family if it can help them.

Go to these social sites and answer questions. One thing I like to do is stop by some of my niche forums and offer some free advice there that is useful and actionable too. This way you’re not only reaching thousands of readers, you’re doing something even bigger too; you’re getting links back to your site and search engines love relevant sites and you’ll get rewarded.

How to Start an Online Business: The Power of Email Marketing – How to Make Money for the Rest of Your Life

When you build an opt-in list, you’re creating one of the most valuable assets of your online business! I am not kidding. I made the mistake when I first built my site, but like most people I’ve learned from my mistake.

Here’s my “Super Powerful Formula”…Yea right! you’re thinking. No I am just messing with you. It’s another one of those simple steps that I talked about earlier. You don’t have to be Einstein, I am telling you. Here it is:

  • Build a list of targeted people
  • Sell them things
  • Sell them more things
  • That’s all no joke

This is what every business pretty much does. There really is no secret. So if you’re looking for the magic, super duper pill, secrets formula, I don’t have it.

Let’s look at some of the fundamentals that you’ll have to apply for it to work:

  • Target a market that likes to buy things
  • They have to want exactly what you sell
  • Be nice to your list and ACTUALLY prove a ton of VALUE or they’ll leave and it won’t work (Always make sure you are providing value to your people)

The best thing about email marketing is that it’s 100 percent super measurable and cheaper than any other type of marketing like radio, print or TV.

If people sign up to your list they are just moments from buying something. You just need to give them what they want.

How to Start an Online Business: Making More Money!

make money onlineIt is said in the online world, and you might know this already from your own experience, that 36 percent of the people that buy from someone will buy again from that same person or company. As long as you follow up with your list, you’ll sell them more stuff.

So how do I follow up?

  • Send out electronic loyalty coupons they can redeem on their next visit.
  • Recommend related products on your “Thank You” page after they purchase.
  • Give products that complement their first purchase.

Little Super Secret: Reward your customers for being loyal and they’ll become even more loyal.

I’ve put my heart and soul into this entire post, because I just don’t want to provide you with something that is not going to help you get closer to your goal.

Most people think there’s a secret to starting a blog or a business online. But I am telling you right now…THERE ARE NO SECRETS OR FORMULAS to become successful online. It just takes a ton of hard work. Now I am not saying hard work like boring work. No! I mean hard work that is exciting to do, because you’re doing something that you actually love.

Bonus:

Facebook Ads Guide: Review of Jonathan Volk’s new Marketing Secrets Blogging

How to Increase Blog Traffic to my Blog Fast?

Finding Keywords: How to Find the Right Keyprases Step by Step

Do you have your own blog or online business already? What did you do different? How can someone new succeed in their beginning steps of entrepreneurship online?

Review: Thesis Theme vs. Woo Themes

If you haven’t heard about DIYthemes or WooThemes you’ll find some personal reasons why I like these two the best out of all the blog template systems out there.

As the bloggersphere keeps growing everyday, one thing that comes to mind is: non-technical bloggers and ugly looking blogs or at least unique looking blogs. I do a lot of looking around the bloggersphere over the weekends and I find that some of the new bloggers don’t seem to care about their designs or just can’t afford them.

I want to help change that. If you’re one of those new bloggers looking for a better design for your blog, that really shows who you are I’m going to show you my two favorite template systems. One is one that I don’t yet own because I really like the one I currently have (Thesis Theme),but I hear great things from friends and the other I do currently use (Woo Themes).

Thesis Theme vs Woo Themes

thesis theme

Why I like Thesis Theme

  • I am not a coder (it does all of the coding work for you)
  • SEO is not one of my capabilities (Search Engine Optimization is something that is going to take to learn, why not leave it to the experts, right?)
  • I can get creative with my blog (there’s over 200 million blogs out there, trust me you don’t want to look like every other blog, I like to be unique. Choose how many columns, font, etc…)
  • Support is important (we are living in a world where customer service is important, 24K peole would not be talking about Thesis if they weren’t good)

Why I am getting Thesis Soon!!

  • So my page loads much faster (that way you don’t have to click away)
  • Engage more readers (don’t you hate how some blogs have 8 point font, what if I am old or can’t see)
  • To have control over my design (no more hiring expensive web designers to tweak two things on my blog)
  • It’s in my budget!!

thesis theme review

____________________________________

Woo Themes

woo themes review

I use them and I like them…

  • Because they take the “HARD” out of “HARD WORK” for me.
  • …I can just choose a design that’s already made (I just pick one)
  • …In the back office I don’t have to mess with html, xml, css all those confusing things (I have control)
  • Setting up is extremely easy (1-2-3 and you’re running)
  • Great support when ever I need it (by pro’s)
  • I can say bye-bye to coding and design (all my worries are taken care off, I just write baby!!)
  • I am a beginner and that says a lot.
  • And of course once again I can afford it!!

woo themes

How to Create a Lasting Impression on Other Blogs

Do you ever stop and think when you are leaving a comment on another blog, is this admin really going to care about what I say? I wonder if he even reads my comments? I do. If you have been trying to make a lasting impression on your favorite blogs, I am going to give you a short tip I learned from some of my comments.

Just a few days ago I was going through my blog comments, and I can remember a lot of the comments, but I can remember some more than others. There is one in particular that did something to make me want to do this blog post for you.

What did he do?

I don’t know if he did it on purpose, but somehow, he created a lasting impression on my blog forever. Matt from Big Red Tomato Company commented on my blog. Pretty simple blog comment and I appreciate it very much.

How did he do it?

Like I said before, I don’t know if he did this on purpose, but he called me by the wrong name, and he apologized, which I really wasn’t too happy with (sarcasm).

How did he make a lasting impression?

Basically he did that in many ways, I will say. First, Matt commented on my blog, then he apologized, and then he posted another comment all in one day. And yes he complimented on the post. Thanks Matt

So there you have it, I know it’s a really basic tip, but I just had a gut feeling it would be great for some newbies out there. I don’t think it is annoying to get a bunch of comments from anyone I love it personally so if you feel like bombarding me with them please do so.-Big Red Tomato Company

Now that I’ve shown you how to really get the attention of a blogger, do me a favor and go hammer Matt with some comments on his blog. He has an awesome site that is really working on making a difference and helping you achieve your dreams; plus he seems like a great guy.

Productive or Busy? I Am Productive I Promise

Yea which one are you being right now? If you thought you were being busy while reading this post you are lying to yourself. Get you butt off this screen and doing something that puts some cash in your pocket.

Okay why if I can use these tips to be more productive. I just told you everything you need to know to be productive. Just get up and do it! I have to ask myself this question all day long about once every twenty minutes. “Are you being productive or are you just being busy?” Yes, thanks to Tim Ferriss’s principles it’s now engraved in my brain forever. As I write this post I think about it, actually it helps me think ahead of time too.

I know spend every twenty minutes of my life focusing on what am I going to do in the next twenty minutes. I apply the 80/20 rule to every single task I need to do during the day.

What is the 80/20 Rule or Pareto principle? states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. Again do this to every task that you are doing. I manage to use this rule for everything I do. If I go into a project I also write a to do list. of the top five task I focus on the one that is going to produce the most result in the end.

How did I stop being busy? Simple I stop doing things that didn’t have any benefit to whatever I was doing. An example is reading my favorite auto blogs. I know that entertainment is necessary but is not productive. If I want to post everyday I know doing things that are not writing or thinking wont result on a productive day.

Am I always productive? Of course not, I don’t need to lie. After all I am human right? I try to stay focus and I have ways to do that as well. By having my iPhone alarm reminding me every twenty minutes I stay on track. If I feel like being lazy I will ignore it, but I have gotten better at it.

Little tips that can help you:

  • Have your next day scheduled.
  • Maintain short-term and long-term reminders.
  • Focus on one task at a time, don’t shift until completed.
  • Keep a checklist, cross them off when you are done.
  • Keep a mini tape recorder. Capture ideas and have reminders, come back to the ideas, don’t loose focus of what you’re doing in the moment.
  • Stop checking email every twenty minutes.
  • Do what produces 80 percent of results first thing in the morning. I try to it from 4 a.m to 6 a.m.

If you would like to know more about being productive you can find more at the fourhourworkweek.com from Tim Ferriss himself. I like to say he is a genius when it comes to being productive. Don’t take the title of his book to literally, it’s possible, but it is about taking control of your time.

Email is becoming was a big one for me and I learned more how to check email here.

Being productive has been a very hard step for me due to the fact that I can get of track easily and I know with so much distractions online it is becoming hard for a lot of people out there too. If you have any questions or need some advice on something please do so through my twitter @wilsonusmanjr I am always checking it every last 5 minutes of every hour so drop a line. Don’t forget if you have anything to share leave it in a comment I truly appreciate it.

My 2010 Blogs Watch

Problogger, Darren Rowse

Who is your mentor? Blogger Darren Rowse has really inspired me to become a blogger from the moment I grabbed his book at the library. He has been my go-to guy for advice. I really appreciate what he has done for this community, by sharing all his wisdom about blogging in a really down-to-earth way; it helps non-technical people like me understand this craft.

Darren Rowse, Australian born blogger, was, among other things, a  minister in his home town of Melbourne. He started blogging on a site called LivingRoom and moved on from there to start many blogs, including most known Problogger and went on to co-start b5media.

His blog is on Technorati as one of the top 100 blogs. He really kicks-ass in his community. And I am sure 2010 will be full of great content and surprises too.

Entrepreneurs-Journey, Yaro Starak

The way I came  about Yaro Starak Blog was through Darren Rowse. I am not sure if it was through his book or his blog. Anyway he really does connect with his readers and always is pumping out some killer content out there. Very unique and useful stuff that is easy to apply to your niche or blog.

Yaro Starak is definitely another guy that can help you succeed at whatever niche you are trying to dominate through his amazing, not only personal, but blogging skills. At entrepreneurs-journey.com you can find always great content about how to become a successful blogger for free. He does have his special Blog Mastermind program that everyone should do if you really want to become an authority.

The 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss

In one of my typical visits to the library I saw a killer book tittle too hard to ignore. The 4-Hour Workweek: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.This could have not come in a better time. I had been working 80 hours a week to make a lousy $700 a week.  I did not think it was possible.

Tim is a blogger and lifestyle designer. Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People of 2007.” The book hit #1 in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and was also a BusinessWeek bestseller. The 4-Hour Workweek has been written and sold in 35 different languages. Are you tired of the 9-5 lifestyle? Check him out at Four Hour Work Week.

garyvaynerchuk.com, Gary Vaynerchuk

I found him by mistake. I was really attracted to the book cover at Borders one night while at the mall. I had no idea this was going to be anything related to the web. Of course, I was wrong.

Gary has really crushed it! this year through all his speeches around the globe and the web. His blogs are really great for entertainment and motivation, but more importantly, knowledge.

His accomplishments so far are great. These include Vaynermedia, his business about building brand equity, and not to mention the 7 figure book deal with Harper Studio, releasing his best-selling Crush It!. And all the many mentions and television appearances. This guy is killing it!

Gary has given many bloggers something something to aspire to. Knowing him, he’ll give us even more next year.

JohnChow.com, John Chow

I think he is a character and it is hard not to like him. Through his daily tips on blogging, I have been able to follow a guide, and it’s nice to be guided through something that you have no idea of. As an amateur blogger, I have to say he has made everything quiet simple for me to understand.

He really has help me understand more how to make money online and he can do that for you too.

Well I think that is all for now. I do think there are other blogs that are great out there and deserve some attention like mine…maybe? who knows? That we will find out with time and sweat equity. If you have a blog watch, please don’t be so selfish to share it.